Hamas co-founder Khaled Mashaal said Thursday he supports his organization's withdrawal from PA politics to avoid global isolation, the Associated Press reports.
Hamas officials noted the idea has grown increasingly popular and is supported by Mashaal who believes participation in politics, and governance in Gaza, has "weakened the resistance enterprise."
"Hamas found that being in government caused huge damage to the movement, and therefore it has changed its policy," Hamas lawmaker Yehya Mussa told the AP. "Hamas is re-evaluating its choices and and resetting its priorities," Mussa explained. "Being in government was a burden on Hamas, a burden on the image of Hamas, a burden on its resistance enterprise."
Officials said Hamas may not officially announce the new direction, which will be reflected in their actions, such as not presenting a candidate for presidential elections.
Mashaal stated in May that Hamas would not attack Israel without the consent of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, which drew sharp criticism from the Hamas rank and file.
Al-Zahar, however, had made it clear Hamas involvement in the PA was only a means to further the 'resistance' and that any agreement the PA might reach with Israel would only serve as a prelude to war.
Hamas' announcement that it wants out of the governance business comes as the deadline for a unified executive between Fatah and Hamas was missed due to financial woes.